Should I use "closes" or "is closing" or "is going to close"?



Let's walk quickly because the shop (closes/is closing/is going to close) in ten minutes.

These choices seem very confusing to me, because they are close in the meaning. I do not know whether to choose, in my opinion I'm going to choose is closing but I don't know why? So I need to understand what is going on in this sentence.

Mohamed Magdy

Posted 2018-01-19T04:36:20.517

Reputation: 510



You can use present simple closes about a general truth (something that always happens) or about a scheduled event

Ice melts if you heat it - general truth
My flight leaves at 9:45 - scheduled event.

You can use present continuous be closing about something that is happening right now, or something that is planned or intended to happen soon.

I am writing a book - right now
I am leaving tomorrow - intent

You can use be going to infinitive for something that will happen or intended to happen: usually it means soon, but could be some time away.

There is going to be a full moon tonight - will happen
I am going to make dinner soon - intent
We are all going to die one day - will happen eventually

You can also use will infinitive for something that will definitely happen or you intend to happen at any time in the future.

The sun will rise at 5:43am - will happen
I will go to America one day - intent

All of the versions that you have suggested would be OK, but the best would be

Let's walk quickly because the shop closes in ten minutes. - scheduled
Let's walk quickly because the shop is going to close in ten minutes. - will happen soon
Let's walk quickly because the shop will close in ten minutes. - will definitely happen

These three examples are all equally good: the circumstances might affect which one you choose to use. is going to close is slightly less formal. There is not much difference between the other two, unless you want to distinguish between scheduled and will definitely happen.

The weakest is this version, because it's not happening now and it's not something that you plan or intend.

Let's walk quickly because the shop is closing in ten minutes


Posted 2018-01-19T04:36:20.517

Reputation: 43 538

7I disagree that "is closing" is weakest. Perhaps it's a regional thing, but the "is closing" form is the one I hear most often in announcements by store staff. Perhaps because, as "is closing" invokes the sense of "right now", this choice invokes a sense of urgency not necessarily present in the others. - Not only is it going to close, the closure is immanent and we need to hurry. - If you're looking for that sense of urgency/immediacy, I think using the "is closing" is a perfectly fine stylistic choice. – R.M. – 2018-01-19T15:39:06.010

"imminent" rather than "immanent" perhaps... – Grimxn – 2018-01-19T17:00:55.900

@R.M., Firstly, this answer is intended to explain the general rules that apply to tense selection, and acknowledges that these rules aren't rigid: I say that "is closing" is weakest (from the point of view of the rules), not wrong. As far as applying the rules goes, it's a question of perspective. In my final sentence, I say "It's not something that you [the shopper] plan or intend". When store staff make an announcement, their perspective is different: it is something that they plan or intend. I do agree that you could also use this form to give a sense of urgency/immediacy.. – JavaLatte – 2018-01-19T22:29:42.653


In this case, I think all are correct and mean almost the same thing that you need to hurry to reach the shop before it shuts down.

However, a little nuance I can (forcefully!) think of is that when you use 'closes,' you are talking about the 'regular closing time.' On the other hand, if you say 'is closing,' it may mean that you just got the news, and the shop is closing not at its regular time.

As I said in my answer here, if the event is definitely going to happen (or it's a regular affair as in trains schedules), using the base verb in present tense is fine.

Hurry, the shop closes at 8 p.m. ~ regular timing
Hurry, the shop is closing at 8 a.m. ~ maybe, you know that it's not its usual time and the shop is closing early.

But again, as I said, this is exaggeration. In my opinion, in your case, broadly, all three can work.

Maulik V

Posted 2018-01-19T04:36:20.517

Reputation: 66 188

What's the difference between is going to close, and is closing in this sentence? – Mohamed Magdy – 2018-01-19T05:40:27.357

3before it gets closed is definitely not an idiomatic expression about a shop... unless it is selling something illegal and the police will soon come along to close it. – JavaLatte – 2018-01-19T11:10:55.230

@JavaLatte edited. If still not okay, let me know what's correct there. – Maulik V – 2018-01-22T02:37:34.793